Monday, September 18, 2006

The Courage of Stephen Baldwin

It’s always fascinating when someone crosses over to become a born again Christian. It’s good, don’t get me wrong, but sometimes it’s a little bit overwhelming when someone is trying to throw religion down your throat. God gave people the choice to believe in Him or not. That’s our right. I choose to believe. I choose to profess my love for God and call Jesus my savior, but I do not have the right to do the same for any of you out there. Your “God” is your choice. You’re beliefs are your own. No one should have to force their faith upon you.

Stephen Baldwin. Great eyes. I’ll say that. In fact, all the Baldwin brothers have great eyes. I saw him today on a morning news show. He just wrote a book called, “The Unusual Suspect.” It’s about his experience of his new transformed life.

Some of his content is said to be controversial. They said some Christians may be taken back by some of his material. On the news, Baldwin said to incorporate God into your sex life to make it more fulfilling. He also encouraged Bono from the band U2 to preach the good word as a Christian at one of his concerts. I think it’s great to preach ‘spread the word’, but can you picture Bono after one of his songs reading a scripture straight out of the bible to his audience? Baldwin’s statement was to explain, that in Bono’s position as a very well known artist that’s in the public eye, he would definitely be heard. Okay, this may be true, but it’s also forcing his beliefs upon those who don’t have the same faith.

It’s a wonderful thing to not be ashamed of your religion, but it’s another thing to force your beliefs on others. For me, I claim I’m a Christian. Does this mean I’m perfect? NO. Does this mean that I never, ever make mistakes? Certainly not. It means I’m human, with a love for Christ and the faith that He forgives all who follow Him. To others, they may believe differently. That’s fine. I accept that.

Even though I disagree with some of Stephen Baldwin’s approach, I’m still going to purchase his book today, and see where he’s coming from. I want to hear about his experience, as he turned himself over to God. I want to learn how he came about being a born again Christian. I am a firm believer that God uses those who aren’t perfect, or doesn’t hold the same ‘appeal’ as those who are "bible thumping" Christians. I also personally feel that it may encourage those, who wouldn’t normally come out as a Christian, to profess their faith even more so, because of his book.

When the average person sees ‘one of their kind’---(not the typical stereotype Christian) come out of the woodwork to claim Jesus as their savior, it makes them feel better about it. It’s almost like someone on stage asking the audience, “How many of you think about sex more than twice a day?” First you see no hands go up. Then one. Moments later, another hand goes up. Then a few more go up, making the entire room full of people who confess to thinking about sex more than twice a day. (This is just an example, but a true one!) So, if one imperfect person stands up to claim his faith (or confession,) then others will too.

This only brings me to think about my own life and how other Christians preach to me that I’m not ‘a real follower of Jesus’ because of my lifestyle as a homosexual. God doesn’t expect us to be perfect, which is why He sent His only son on this earth. It also doesn’t mean that I have the right to bash those who believe in any other religion. Yes, I can have an opinion and ‘believe’ that this God doesn’t exist, or that my “God” is the only one. Our faith brings us to that conclusion that we only have one God: “Ours”.

I contemplated about this a lot. I was in a recent quarrel with a woman who’s a Mormon. She’s also homosexual. From what I understand, she struggled with her life as a homosexual and her religion. This is a huge struggle for many gays and lesbians who believe in God. Guilt is a huge factor, which triggers negative thoughts within themselves. I went through that phase of feeling guilty and horrible about who I was, as a person, that loved God—yet loved another person of the same gender. Am I such a bad person? Am I really going to hell just because I love someone?

So this quarrel I had with this Mormon homosexual woman went overboard somewhat. We were discussing the topic of God, and I explained to her that God helped me greatly when I was depressed or going through troubles in my life. I told her my story, and I even said, “If you pray to God about it, He’ll help you.” Well, she got upset and said, “Don’t tell me to ‘find God’!!! How dare you tell me to find God!” Since both our religions rely on the trinity, I thought it would be a great idea to share my experience with her as a Christian lesbian. We were both going through similar situations. I wasn’t imposing my faith on her—she had the same faith technically. I wasn’t preaching to her, I was only sharing with her and trying to make her feel better with what she had went through.

In any event, why is it okay to tell another person, “you’re not a real Christian”, or “you’re not a real Mormon”? That’s not up to us to decide; it’s up to God as well as our faith. The constant judgmental remarks I have heard within the past year has left me with a bad taste in my mouth, when I hear the words, “born again Christian”. When I hear the word “Christian”, I fear greatly that they’ll be the kind that throws the bible at you, the kind where they discourage you from being a Christian. Many “Christians” discourage other believers to turn away from God. It’s no wonder Baldwin’s getting a lot of flak from his book.

I hope that through Baldwin’s experience and his walk with God, it’ll lead others to become more comfortable in their faith. I applaud him for being so bold and brave, to come out strong claiming Jesus as his savior. It’ll be a sad day when the punches of those who ridicule him for sharing his experience, discourages his walk with Christ.

Stephen, good luck, and be strong!